their minds worked, read what actually came out of the time. in other words, eliminate the middleman. this is why some historians are not very fond of historical fiction because it tries to do something different. historians also have to hedge their bets. well, at this point it is not unreasonable to suppose that richard nixon might have fought. if you're a novelist you go inside his head and haven't ticket. is that history. it's more entertaining than is educational. it's one thing that genre can add to actual history. >> what is your day job? >> i teach at george washington university. >> talking here with thomas mallon.
now book tv, joan walsh presenter falls on the state of the american middle class and what should be done to ensure future opportunities for all americans. this is just over an hour. >> that's my favorite part. [laughter] good evening and welcome to today's meeting of the commonwealth of california. the place where you are in the know. i am dug sovereign political reporter at kcbs radio in san francisco and i will be a moderator for this evening's program. please insure your cell phone, pda and other noisemaking devices are turned off for at least on silence. and we will get underway in just a moment. first i'd like to tell you about some upcoming programs. this thursday, september 27, melanie, financial commentator for abc's good morning america, and paul schott stevens who is
the ceo of the investment company institute will team up to discuss the future of retirement in this daunting economic environment they will stick to the current crop of retiring baby boomers and give saving strategies for the younger generation for those golden years far ahead. this will be a new program this is thursday year the commonwealth club in san francisco. tuesday october 2nd former connecticut senator chris dodd will be here in his new role as the chairman and ceo of the motion picture association of america. he will address how last technology has moved entertainment content to the cloud it's created economic challenges to both the industry and government protecting the rights of the 2.2 million cremators and makers in every state especially in california. and then three days later, friday october 5th, massachusetts congressman barney frank will be here for a luncheon program. i should tell you chris dodd is a 6 p.m. program also at the club in san francisco. friday october 5th, barney frank will be here for a luncheon program on the of the commonwealth club can you see both dolph and frank in one week.
[laughter] congressman frank will be here discussing the domestic and foreign policy issues pertinent to the upcoming election. it is my pleasure to extend a special welcome to any new commonwealth members of this evening. you'll need the most well-informed interesting people in the bay area when you attend the commonwealth club agents all of whom are as interested as you are in savitt discussion and social interaction. now want to this evening's program, there are question cards you should have been handed on your seats for joan walsh. fill them out, right on the question and there will be collected and we will ask them in the program. there's also a microphone in the audience, were there will be in a while and we will take some oral questions toward the end of the program so i will remind you when the time comes you can line up with a microphone and ask your questions. we appreciate you keeping questions short and please make sure they are questions and not statements. copies of the new book, what's the latter with white people, on sale in the lobby. she will be pleased to sign them outside the room immediately following the program. i'm going to pause for a moment and then begin the program for
the radio, television and internet audience and i apologize some of this will be a little repetitive. >> good evening and welcome to today's meeting of the commonwealth club of california, the place where you are in the know. you can find the commonwealth club on the internet at commonwealthclub.org. i in your moderator for this program. i'm pleased to introduce our distinguished speaker, joan walsh, editor in largest salon.com, appears frequently as a political analyst on msnbc and other networks and she is the author of the new book "what's the matter with white people why we long for a golden age that never was." ms. walsh has had a distinguished career as a journalist and worked at the state capitol in sacramento. she was editor-in-chief at salaam for six years. she's quite proudly from new york city, where i'm happy to say that her father and nine grew up on the very same street near yankee stadium and not a major street at that. she's a graduate of the university of wisconsin.
ms. walsh is here to discuss your ideas on the demographics and alliances that play in this election year and give her to, the possible outcome might be. please, give a commonwealth club welcome to joan walsh. [applause] >> thank you, doug, thinks everybody. i told my best friend that's here tonight that i was nervous about this. i've been doing all sorts of things and not getting nervous, and i told trevor -- i tweet a lot -- and someone reminded me that yesterday was the 80th anniversary of fdr most important speech at that point in his life in 1932. he was running for the presidency and he came out and sent a big defining difference between him and herbert hoover was that he was really going to use dhaka government to help people and get us out of the great depression. so, no pressure there.
[laughter] i was nervous before, but then hearing that, whatever. that's a piece of cake. >> i get a lot of laughter. every time the title was mentioned, people chuckled, and chris matthews said today and he chuckled and said that is just a funny title even though he said it like nine times it's funny every time. that's okay. and i realized that there are three actual meanings to the title, and i am only getting to talk about one for the most part. the first is sort of the title itself. what's the matter with white people? as what's wrong with them, why are nine out of ten sell five in the five republican voters today white in the country that is 62% white? that's a question that i have been thinking about a lot. i've been writing for so long and back in the day this he is
for a long time i've been struggling with exactly why that fdr coalition fell apart and looking at it through the lens of my working-class irish catholic families some of whom started the 60's as staunched jfk democrats and ended it as nixon's supporters became a famous reagan democrats and now they are old republicans. this is a title but it's a lot of attention and thanks to mitt romney and paul ryan and got a lot of attention they literally rush to google after watching the convention and what's the matter with white people. so i want to think sam. [applause] but, you know, a lot of the commentary focused on the nostalgia republicans seem to feel for the golden age. as i describe in my title, and
we can say that that is racism or sexism and some of it no doubt is. but i think it's important for us as progressives, those of us here that are progressive i hope we have some republicans, too. i think it's important to think about the golden age was and that there was a golden age for some americans and it coincided with my growing up. i felt like i was the last generation of people to whom the country really kept its promises. although with mitt romney and paul ryan got elected they would break the promise is since just under 55. we will have a chance to break promises to feel like it will be great. but, the golden age when we think about it it really was the result of the great depression and world war ii. it was the result of people feeling as though the tragedy created an incentive to create a big middle class that we didn't want communism and fascism and
the way to prevent that was to get more and more american people a stake in society. and let them be less susceptible to those sort of isms and extremisms. so we used the government to build that great middle class. we started with of the new deal and making it easier to unionize. the g.i. bill actually let people buy houses and go to college. it wasn't just veterans who could go to college. we were building public universities. the federal government was ensuring the hall of mortgages for people who maybe could have previously afforded them. and we built the roads out to the great so nervous that some of us had our golden age. the problem with that time period is that it left out a lot of people. it particularly left of african-americans and latinos who were actually excluded from those programs or the programs
despite lobbying by the liberals in the day and the naacp, the programs didn't prohibit discrimination. we know some of the suburbs we went to to have our golden age had covenants, so a lot of white people don't remember the extent to which the government helped them rise. my irish catholic family rose from desperate poverty to the middle class and literally one generation, but you've got this divide where a lot of people don't realize that they got help then you have african-americans and latinos pointing to the help they got and this terrible communication gap. how can you say you didn't get something that i didn't even know you got. that's a big problem i want the book to start to talk about. the other thing we don't think about enough and the first meaning of the title is the extent to which we all -- many of us congratulate ourselves on the movement of the 60's and we should. the civil rights movement was the greatest movement of my lifetime. feminism is why i am standing
here. we were right to stop the vietnam war and we did the right thing. but the 60's were not an unbroken narrative of victory and happiness. they were kind of scary for a lot of people and not just white people. the crime did rise. there were urban riots, the fringe of the entire white movement got violent. divorce rates climbed. there was this sense the country was unraveling. and one of the things i think happened is the democrats were in charge. the democrats were engaged in the great society and the new round of government activism and so because they were in charge when these things seemed to fall apart they got blamed a lot of people i think blame the wrong things for the way the society seemed to fall apart. we were beginning to see offshore the industrialization. people didn't realize it but the blue collar jobs were going away so you have a constituency of people that then became republicans.
the government help was rationalized, white people hadn't gotten help and these newcomers african-americans and latinos got help, and we really wound up with a situation where my relatives and many people actually voted for policies that dismantled the opportunity structure and we've seen that over last 30 years it came crashing down and around us with the 2008 banking crash. that is the first meaning of the title and a lot of those liberals are used to that. the second meaning actually comes from a conservative critique. we now have a conservative critique with white people, seriously, and it's basically what's the matter with white people, when they become so shiftless and lazy? we saw last year charles murray, a writer that was responsible for a lot of the foundations of ronald reagan and the notion
that we thought a war on poverty and poverty one. charles murray really stigmatized them in particular and tried to show that poverty programs made it worse by discouraging marriage and encouraging indolence and people to stop working and go on the dole. so i thought i was racist and a lot of us tried hard and succeeded in reaching his data was garbage but his message really carried. low and behold last year i made in the newest book coming apart the state of white america and you know if ms. veazey and relying on the dole and not getting married and having kids out of wedlock? the white working class are the ones falling out of stability and prosperity not because the economy changed for the jobs went away but because they are their own feelings and if you think that this kind of a fringe
thing or he's a scholar, so that book was a best seller just like all of his books because the right by his books and we don't, so i'm not talking a lot in the one in particular but liberals need to buy more books. it's not a fringe sentiment because i started hearing echoes on the primary trail. you had rick santorum come out and say the problem was dependency, when the family falls apart the economy falls apart and rather than the other way around, that it's harder to have stable families when the economy is falling apart. you had new gingrich call barack obama the food stamp president and those of us that heard a dog whistle or racial coding weaver absolutely right but new gingrich was also right when he said i'm not talking about black people, will get all the white people, the percentage of white people is also skyrocketing again.
we have independent country. paul ryan was talking about the makers versus the takers, and that was again, saying some people have productive lives and some people live off the rest of us and in a very ayn randian way, very juvenile and untrue. then you have the culmination i think just a week ago in mitt romney talking about the 47%. i don't read anything. i carried the speech it's like a security blanket but i have to read this so i'm sure i get it right. the worst sentence and mitt romney's oration in boca raton with his rich friends was i will never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. that's what he said about 47%
americans. he holds half the country in contempt. and so the chickens have kind of come home to work for the working class. they now hold them in the same contempt that they hold minorities so that brings me to the third meaning of the title and that is you've got to say it with a little bit of a brooklyn accent or jersey and it's kind of what's the matter with white people? aren't we good enough to join your multiracial progress of collation? that is the controversial part of my book and the one that is getting the least attention what is interesting. but i felt during the 2008 primary that when hillary clinton was succeeding in getting a large portion of the working-class vote and bringing them back to the democratic party the default for a lot of people on the left is to call that racism the only reason those people were voting for her is because they wouldn't vote for a black man.
we all know that is absolutely true for some people but i didn't think it was true for a majority of people and it brought home to me something that i have the feeling in san francisco for a long time and going back to the stories that i did for image and salon and realizing that our sort of black-and-white, literally race relations paradigm wasn't working in a state certainly where the fastest-growing groups are latinos and asians and certainly before this primary that our language was exclusionary and that white liberals in particular seem to be never happier than when they can scapegoat and show that they are the good people and those ignorant people are the trouble. so i began to think about why we continue to use such exclusionary terms about politics. i began to get really irritated. i'm sorry with the idea that we
are going to have a great people of color collection as though the ocean dentists and the investment bankers and mexican american cops had more in common with each other than any white americans although i guess people of color could include white people because i guess that's the color but anyway, it tends not to in the ways we use it. i came to really believe that we liberals gave up the language of the inclusion and the language of unity and common ground and common vision. we begin the people focused on the difference that is something that maybe we have not lived the necessity for being those people, and certainly i came to feel in the course of writing this book and more strongly in the last few weeks and months democrats have an opportunity to speak to this constituency that
left them a long time ago. i don't like to say i told you so. but there was a poll last week that showed the president is competitive with the class if you take this out all of the equation which is the difficult thing to do that if you take out southerners, president obama is leading mitt romney in the midwest. thank you come although restructuring probably come and he is basically tied in the northeast and the west. thank you, paul ryan. i saw the poll that showed that he's gone from being 20 points ahead with the voters over 60 to being four points ahead in just a couple of months. so they have managed to even turn off and alienate the core
of the base. so i feel like it really does create a new opportunity for liberals to be the people that we're talking about an inclusive america that works for all of us including white working class people to put the government back on the side of creating a middle class to recognize what the government did and to be the ones that are the people who believe in american exceptional some frankly and that we could have a just and prosperous multiracial america that our country isn't going to fall apart and didn't fall apart when we became so diverse that ever diversity which is what they used to say which they seem to have lost heart on. so the challenge between white people too in the cultural war and the age of the culture war heard above the left as giving
up but the challenge for a lot of white people is do we really like that term and will we accept being just one out of many, not the dominant form to which everyone else is supposed to conform. i think what we have seen and we've seen so much in california and we see the children in particular is the assimilation goes both ways and that we are influencing each other and creating this really amazing mestizo culture in every way that's going to make us stronger and we're the ones that have to be talking about so i'm going to rapid there and leave a lot of time for questions, and we even think you are a trustworthy enough audience that you get to go to the microphone, which is a very cool thing to be it i've been a moderator before. but doug is just so good at this the trust him to really get out of control. anyway, thank you so much. [applause]
>> thank you, john walsh salaam of, editor of large from msnbc analyst and author of the new book what's the matter with white people or i should say what's the matter with white people why we long for the golden age that never was. now it's time for questions from you. we have a few to get started with and i will probably come up with some of my own. let's ask one of these from the audience. one person would like to know can we have a democracy without a middle class? >> it's very hard. i think that's why we decided to create one after the twin traumas of the terrible depression and the worst war that we had ever seen. i think that we -- it's very hard to have a country where economic power is so concentrated in the hands of very few and they then raided the game to make sure that it continues both economic and
political power is to be concentrated there. my book is critical of democrats in some ways. if you want to know why mitt romney pays a scandalously disgustingly low tax rate need to talk to some democrats. people i like and admire like chuck schumer the democrats became the party of wall street in many ways and walked away from their legacy and there is a reason that the people stopped trusting them to look out for the interest of working people and the middle class people. >> the politicians pander to the middle class will do here is the middle class tax cut but it is a shrinking number of people and we have the very rich and the very poor. to touch on this in the book but what impact do you think the occupy wall street movement is having now a year later as opposed to when it began with such fervor? >> i was very inspired and moved by occupy wall street. i was very inspired by all-inclusive it was unlike some
of the protests of the 60's the cops in some cities were horrible, but by and large the protesters went out of their way to include the cuts. i saw the sign saying you are a part of our 99%. i think the notion we are the 99% became in a updated version and honestly absolutely incontrovertible lead changed the rhetoric and the political dialogue and i never talked about income inequality, those two words. you didn't get to talk about those things on cable news and suddenly people did studies and of literally the mention of income inequality just skyrocketed in the months after occupy. i guess i came out of the closet as many things in this book working-class irish catholics and also a really staunch democrat and i don't hide that in any of my journalism and so, there is a part of me that wishes that occupy would have at
least devoted more of its energies towards the left wing michael harrington's famous formulation the left wing of the possible and that this party centric of me that that is what we have in this country. and so i think a lot of us hoped they would become the left wing matteo party and poll the democrats to the left the way that he party has told them to the right and that most pleasant happened. i went to occupy oakland a couple times and saw people exclude anyone that worked with the democratic party were the unions. it became a scarlet letter to have worked with the unions than to be an anarchist that wanted to break windows, and at that point i lost some hope but obviously in other cities in tampa, i went to tampa, occupy tampa is working with planned
parenthood on reproductive rights issues and that is happening in other cities as well people did get politicized and despite the kind of formal animosity towards the democratic party and organized politics, some people did get swept into the causes and i hope more of that happens. >> as we are the 99% chance, we are the 47%. is this going to be out there over the next couple of weeks? romney is going to be dogged with protesters? >> it's already happening actually. he's been heckled today there is a terrible, the water in the cnn commentator named eric erickson who started a blog we are the 53% and this shows you how long the 47% formulation has been around. right after occupying he started this blog to show we are the 57% that pay taxes and take care of you 47%. so this has really crystallized
in a new way this contempt for half of the country. >> we were both in tampa at the convention and then in charlotte, those conventions and the party couldn't have been more different. the one as monolithic white, the delegation is probably 97% white. >> it was, literally. some of the convention looks like america as a wide range of people in all races and types of people. how does the republican party if they are only making a token effort are the dooming themselves as the country becomes more ethnically diverse to being a permanent minority? >> they are on the course of demographic extinction. it won't happen right away. i think this year they are betting very strongly on if we have the electorate that turned out in 2008, we win. if we have the electorate that turned out in 2010, they win so they have been very consciously despite mitt romney's consulting
white people concentrating on turning of the white lowercase, and then of course on the voter suppression counting on really they've been quite upfront about that. we have the speaker of the house and the republican speaker rating in pennsylvania said we got -- i am sorry he didn't say voter suppression. we got that voter built to be that clinton that pennsylvania government money. someone else said why should we to the urban machine and make it easier for them? so that is their strategy but in the long term of course it is a strategy. it's a disaster this strategy to the estimate in the short term does that send a message subliminal or not that the republican party's their party said they will see that and say this is my party? >> that was the point behind the use of the welfare act. not only did he lie about what
obama did but right now the old fashioned program that helps poor women and children is .07% of the federal budget. the caseload is down 50% in 15 years and we destroyed that program. we can debate all day. we destroy the program but they decided to resurrect welfare. again, the dog whistle and again saying that we are the ones looking out for you, the taxpayer and the rest of their message with this 47% thing about a quarter of those are seniors who again worked in order to now have their benefits. that isn't going to sit well with the people he was trying to turn out weeks ago. >> the republican party does of the generation of non-white up-and-coming like marco rubio in florida and ted cruce and texas and bobby jindal and louisianan who were all very conservative.
it's been a a very impressive african-american woman from utah. estimate ultraconservative. >> does that help them at least present some image of a bigger tent as they move forward or the appealing to the same because of their politics and ideology? >> i think assuming it mitt romney and flying in halloos there's going to be a battle for the soul of the republican party, and there will be people but will critique the racial appeal and the reliance on the shrinking base of voters. marco rubio kind of sort of tried to do it a couple months ago. he doesn't support the gerry but he did say it does seem weird we are going out of our way to deport young people that worked hard and played by the rules and a jug bush criticized his party on the specifically on immigration issues and being so hostile towards latinos and asians so there will be a debate about whether this particular
demographic strategy can continue. but i always predicted i felt in 2008 that they were going to have a debate and see that they were already going on this course. i was wrong. so in terms of predicting what the republican party is going to do, i don't have a good track record so you should trust me. >> the conservatives are already gnashing their teeth saying if we lose this we have to be thinking -- they didn't get the nominee they wanted. he was the more moderate nominee in that field. so, the conservatives didn't nominate -- >> and i think that is what they are going to say. we sat still and put up this nominee that he forced upon us and was a massachusetts moderate despite what he tried to become. you silenced paul ryan and limelight while conservatives and liberals actually agree on something. definitely, definitely let paul ryan be paul ryan.
he's great for democrats, but there's going to be a significant portion of the republican base if not a majority that says exactly that. we went to far to the right or pander to white people, but we didn't go far enough to the right. sec'y is it that southern white middle class voters that were served by the policies vote republican is it racism of any cost? >> i think you've got to acknowledge that some of it is racism. a lot of it may be racism. i think that this hostility, the democratic party has been so engrained the association of the democratic party with civil rights even though civil rights was a bipartisan issue until late in the 60's richard nixon got 42% of the black vote in 1967 decided to create that for the white working class load very successfully and specifically in the south
there's a strong association between the civil rights movement and the democrats of today it's very hard to win the south back to respect how much of the antiobama rhetoric -- i know it's hard to put a number on it, but when i hear someone say romney was classier than michelle obama to the stomach somebody in tampa said she looks like a first lady. i mean -- [laughter] if you want a first lady that lectures you and when does your finger at you and tells you to stop it. yeah. you know, it's really quite unbelievable. it really is. >> president obama has been the president for almost four years now so i was having a conversation with someone the
other day and he is the president who cares whether he is black, white or purple what this point why can't people except we have a black president? move on to we estimate it's one step forward and two steps back. barack obama got a larger share of the white vote and al gore or john kerry or bill clinton in his first term and a larger share of the women class vote as well. so we can congratulate ourselves on that. however, there is no doubt in my mind that it triggered a terrible backlash among the people who were so isolated that they didn't think it was possible with the rest of us were going to elect this blackmail. where did that come from? how did that happen? and certainly we, but thinly veiled racism does the picture with a bone from his nose and african witch doctor then there's all of the other isms whether he is a muslim or trying to turn us into europe and
johnson saying he has to learn how to be american. it is the only reason they might oppose or question him. i think that is unfair, too would you think is the watershed moment that this white vote or middle class or working-class voter switched parties and was at the reagan democrats when nixon? when does that happen? >> i think it's nixon to retire right in the beginning of a hard hat right of 1970, and it's a really dramatic moment in my family because we have people on both sides of it. right after they were killed in can stand university there was a peace march in city hall and
very devoted entire war person that went to marches who is the corporate peacenik and he went to this march and suddenly out of nowhere hundreds of hard hats came storming down the street from the world trade center i ron ackley or i don't know what the right word is. they were building the world trade center and they began to beat the hell out of the students they looked for the students and this was really kind of falling apart of the new deal coalition where you just had these guys many of whom were the fathers had been fdr supporters believing that we have these ungraceful students rebeling and so they were going to rebuild, too so a few weeks after that, the head of their union, peter brennan went to the white house with a hard hat with richard nixon's name on it and peter brennan later left the democratic party and became mix
and's labor secretary, and that moment was really influential then turning a lot of unions away from democrats. so that in 1972 george mcgovern, the most probably prove lieber person in our history was largely rejected by the working class and by a lot of organized labor and the was just a tragedy that broke the party in half. >> they've managed to turn that question backend bill clinton captured a lot of those and barack obama captured some of them is at this point are the swing voters? >> they are swing voters i think for a buddy would agree. there was a point i was working on the book the obama -- the campaign was saying we have a strategy to win without ohio and you guys are crazy. barack obama one no white working-class and ohio. you can't give up on ohio and subsequently the president is leading in ohio. so, i think that a lot of the
pessimism of even a year ago where people were saying you've just got to go for this exclusively for this new democratic coalition that's coming to an upcoming young white voters, some unmarried white women that non-white i don't think it is big enough or mobilized enough yet. it's crazy to write off people who used to be part of your base and whose economic concerns mirror that of the rest of the country. there is a multiracial appeal at this point that the president can make to their economic interest as well and he has been making that. i would argue that some of his improvements in the white working class is obviously met -- mitt romney and paul ryan. but he is a -- his message has become more populous and he's articulated this notion that we are all in it together and that is the society that we stand for rotterdam this winner-take-all i
have my society and he's really sharpened those differences and stop trying to be mr. bipartisan i don't care what the republican party is to getting voters in their interest in the democratic party seems to. >> i take issue with the idea that they're voting against their interest necessarily. they are voting against their economics. the great genius of pat buchanan and the republican party to say we are not going to reduce your to your material status, you have every right to believe the same thing as a wealthy right man even if it screws you.
but there is accretive egalitarianism there and i would also add these voters some of them are voting because of religion and a half irish catholic family members who are economic populist but will never vote for a pro-choice democrat they never will. i wish that were not true but i don't think that we can minimize the extent to which that is a sincere belief of the economic interests and finally i said this and it's really amazing that these red state people are the welfare queens now frankly the most of federal dollars but i think they are people now who are taking food stamps and if they wish they were not and kind of blame obama were the government, and i think we have to accept that and think about how to talk about it differently rather than saying they're crazy and voting against their self-interest. estimate your listening to the
commonwealth club review program. our guest is salam notte, editor and msnbc analyst joan walsh discussing her book what's the matter with white people why we long for iggulden age that never was. you brought up religion. religion does not enter in political discussion in europe even though they have state religions in france and england why are so many americans fixated on fief of your them their own? i am not a romney supporter but believe it should have no relative of the -- >> relevance. >> we will call that bearing. with a still fighting the civil war? >> that's a lot of good questions that i don't have an answer to. i really don't know why religion is some important in the country founded on the principal of freedom from religion to be i do think that there were a lot of religious zealots in the founders.
there were some people but wanted freedom of religion as a leader they could impose their own religion on the rest of us. i think the wheat -- one of the things i think we do, liberals and conservatives and effect as the founders but in fact they disagree about everything except for independence from great britain. in terms of romney's mormon religion shouldn't play a role no, it should not. but late seen the polls that show some of the southern whites that won't vote for him there was a great story about two weeks ago greet has been tragic where a woman believes that barack obama is a muslim but she's voting for him any way because she would rather vote for a muslim have rather than a mormon. [laughter] so why don't know. is that winning? so there's no doubt. >> the one thing people won't go for is an atheist. an overwhelming majority say they wouldn't vote for someone
who doesn't believe in god. >> it's the kiss of death you don't have people coming out of the closet as atheists especially if they want to have any kind of national ambition. >> this is a country that was founded by puritans and many of the religious as telex fleeing religious persecution. >> dad does explain it is a paradox but when you think that it makes sense it was so important a fled their country of origin and they made that sacrifice and suffered that much, so he we are to be disconnect shifting gears a question from the audience how can the movement become more effective in addressing the issues facing women in america do you see a purpose for this movement again? many questions on the end so they really want to know. >> really big question i guess. i think the women's movement has been revitalized by the attacks on contraception and on the women's autonomy and freedom.
i think that for a long time i consider myself a feminist. we were an older movement, how do we get young people more interested. i think rush limbaugh did more for feminism than we have done for ourselves. and in particular i think to get young women interested. we have this image of being these kind of antimen puritans to use the term and now we are sexy slutty people having so much sex that we need the government to pay for or contraception. [laughter] suddenly we are hot and also suddenly young women sat we are realizing that they're going to have to fight the battles the mothers and grandmothers fought before them. so i think the women's movement is nearly irrelevant. i think the women's movement is stronger and the push for the
equity in the british the butter and the realization the women make up the majority of the 47% i think the women's movement is beginning to take more of an economic focus not merely reproductive rights focus which i think is important and the right step? >> we have a majority of the voters clearly that's a block we need to win the election. stomach can anyone tell romney and ryan that? let's not tell them. >> whether it is a movement or not, they are the most -- you need to win the women's vote if you want to win a lawsuit every man to vote for you which isn't realistic. they are not conceding it. we saw how many women were put up in the convention and how they say there is no war on women. but -- laughter, but if they are not conceding that in winning them over. >> they are not doing that well. there are also among the women and there is a really huge divide between the single women
and married women and republicans have the edge and still have the edge with married women but there are more and more single women and so that is a important edge for democrats. >> the african-american male is an endangered species. here comes a big question that bothers me you didn't enjoy the fruits of a free society there are many reasons progress is slow do you have any remedial suggestions? >> you know, i'm going to go back words a little bit and maybe generate some disagreement. but, you know, in the book i can to a new appreciation of daniel patrick moynihan who was perhaps in a sexist way very concerned about what was going on with african-american men, and i think the road not taken in the war on poverty was a jobs program, and i think the road
not taken right now we have structural unemployment, tragically high unemployment among african-american men and particularly young teenagers and young men in their 20s and that is just a gulf that opens later as you get older. succumbing you know, i think that they bear the brunt of this racism and that having a black president has been a positive thing that there's also a way in which, you know, he feels he cannot speak directly about the issues of african-americans and when he does, like when he talked about henry louis gates getting arrested in his own home, suggesting that they acted stupidly maybe he triggers a backlash. people are doing and i every that the portable trey vana martin killing wasn't capable issue until the president said that mild statement if i had a
son, he would look like trayvon and all hell broke loose. before that mitch mcconnell was calling for an investigation and they liked the agreed that an unarmed african-american teenagers shouldn't be gunned down but when the president spoke up as a father, it became this polarizing issue, so we have a long way to go. >> i had a black man to me last year i thought that barack obama would be a black president but he is just another white president, and he felt this was an occupied movement, she felt it's another corporate big money by expected more and there is a lot of bitter disappointment among progressives and those on the left. is obama some of the damned if he does and if he doesn't? he is too moderate for the left and he is too liberal for the right? he's a socialist to the right? >> i think he's got a very tough line to walk to get reelected and to govern this country.
he can't be the black president, he's the american president representing everyone and the right works overtime. glenn backend rush limbaugh called the bill corporations even though the majority of the people are white. so you have an industry, a heat industry that works overtime depicting everything he does as somehow deracialized while there are genuine critics on the left and nonblack, whatever, who are very disappointed and to consider him centrist and i wouldn't call him a corporate, but i been disappointed especially in the first two years by his inability to go back to the famous speech 80 years ago yesterday. he was not comfortable depicting himself as someone that is going to use the government to
actively change the lives of american people and really was very interested in again being bipartisan. i think that during the clinton obama oral primary for me any way there were people in the obama coalition and on the obama team perhaps barack obama himself that really believe that bill clinton and hillary clinton brought all that craziness on themselves, that they would do the overreach health care and the are polarizing and he has a sexual issue were to come and that somehow that right-wing conspiracy wouldn't be set him and that was crazy and i said at the time those people are going to use whatever they can and it became an excellent thing to use. so, i did think that she was a little bit naive and in love with his own power of persuasion when he worked through health care reform to win over the
republicans that were due speaker determined to make him feel. >> mitt romney is the least liked. he is the highest unfavorable devotee if he wins he will be the most negatively viewed person to win the presidency. on the other hand, barack obama would be the least popular incumbent. his numbers are not so great either sell one of them is going to make history. either we will have them on the popular president of the not great economy get elected plus he is black which hurts him somewhat among some center of the population or we will have an online at mormon republican. >> i think that obama's approval rating in terms of improving the job that he has done are lower than he would like and lower than other presidents at this point in the presidency. his popularity ratings are very high and that is a huge factor
that keeps them competitive in the tough economy people like this man. we do focus a little bit too much on the crazy people. with a white swing voters his -- he is still perceived as a likable person, and that is certainly a huge of vantage for him. succumb he is liked. the question of whether he is doing a good job is what is the issue. >> that's why mitt romney you will often hear him say he is a nice guy he's just not up to the job. okay we have to acknowledge they like him better than they like me but let's just say he's not doing a good job because they don't think that he is doing such a good job is that the difference here and that president obama is personally liked? if we go back to the same who would you rather have a beer with because if anyone is going to have of your unless they live in iowa -- >> skip gates and officer crowley did. >> that's what it takes. but is that the difference in this right now?
the mike benge that people like president obama more than mitt romney? >> i think it is whether we like it or not it certainly matters. the other thing that's important as people think that the empathize with them and he is planned to do more for the middle class and all those that are not just like ability but he has a nice smile or he's got those zero or just bought first there is more substance than i would like to have a beer with him. i think that is extremely important, and you know it because we were in tampa and mitt romney, that speech that he spent a couple of minutes reaching out to obama of voters and acknowledging that they have a lot of hope and change and in that video of him with his buddies in boca raton he talks about that obstacle that there are a lot of nice people that
just really like him and so we can't push too hard on him we can't really savage him so to speak to the estimate what is one approach to poverty from the democrats that appeals to working-class white people? >> i think lots of approaches to poverty appeal. i think that white people support certain kinds of government intervention in certain kinds of jobs programs. the president's jobs bill is popular he just can't get it passed. i think like most people they are worried about the issue of dependency and people who don't pull their own weight. every culture i think it is a natural human we are social animals and we always had our eye off for that person but they are not helping to go out and kill the animal, the freeloader is something that i think is almost like an architect in our
psyche as a social being that rely on each other and so, i think that we need jobs programs and education what we too much emphasis on education that we are asking schools to do so much when we are cutting programs and cutting nutrition programs and kids are going to school hungry, they are not getting health care, there are so many factors that put them behind before they even start school and then we are saving catch them up and - that's really a way that our poverty has gotten off track quite honestly the last 15 years even among democrats. >> we have president obama and mitt romney on cbs the other day. the president was expressing his disappointment that he hasn't been able to change the tone. george w. bush ran he was going to change the tone. everyone is always going to
change the tone. the question is mitt romney promising by partisanship of it like lucy promising charlie brown she won't pull football? [laughter] >> yes, i think it is. i think that he has to nod to that there is no evidence he would govern in of bipartisan way to read george w. bush that is not elected president in my opinion but did not get a majority of the votes -- [applause] he ran that we as a compassionate conservative and you would have expected him to govern as a moderate and realize he presided over a very deeply divided country and instead he was one of the most radical presidents we've ever had, so i expect the same thing from mitt romney who is actually talked who is espousing more radical right policies than george w. bush ever did. like nixon and ronald reagan in
certain ways looks like a moderate in terms of education mitt romney is very willing to slash all of that. >> romney brings up his massachusetts experience where he was in an overwhelmingly democratic state to show how he would govern as president. he had one term in massachusetts. a cynic and he lost interest. and let's -- was he really the governor of massachusetts? i said this on tv it's like he's in the mittness protection. [laughter] he doesn't want you to remember that he was a moderate that presided over romney care but the of the day he said that he was the grandfather, godfather of obamacare. he goes back and forth. he says women are going to have health care because they had it in massachusetts and then he says i didn't mean that. he is constantly flipping
back-and-forth on what he would continue with anything that's in the affordable care act, so she does like to say i did a verney blue state, but she doesn't tell us what he did he might be somewhat appealing but he doesn't want to so it's tough to believe him. >> key is not popular there. president obama is 20 something points ahead of the state. >> obama is way ahead. >> i think he likes to claim new hampshire as a mother and he's probably going to lose the hampshire so he is going to make history by being the first to lose all three home states. [laughter] >> there was one person it's failing me who it is the president lost his home state and birth stayed and still one that was in the 1800's said it is unusual. i think we are ready if people would like to ask questions
instead of meter freezing them and changing them into something else. we are ready to take some questions out loud if anybody wants to go to the microphone to read we have them in both files or just this one? if anybody wants to go to that microphone and asked a question you can ask of general walsh and i promise not to cut you off too quickly as long as there is a question at the end of whatever you say. if anyone wants to ask a question -- >> you are closer and you can get there faster. >> stood up to the microphone and if not lost more myself to this gimmick the other day mitt romney made a statement which i felt kind of confusing. his father was born in mexico at some point to practice polygamy or something. he said it's too bad my father wasn't really a mexican. she was born in mexico but it's too bad he wasn't really a
mexican. what was he trying to say by that? >> i think that he actually came out and said it a little bit later in the remarks i forget the words but that would be helping politically. my god it is easier to be a latino in this country than mitt romney. >> that's great. [laughter] >> he had the audacity to say that he would be doing better politically if he were latino. you did for awhile remind people that he had a sort of mexican heritage as they were trying to get the vote we've been hearing a lot about the romney election going on and i want to know your perspective on what really empowers the president, and that is the house and the scent to the consent.
i have no comprehension on where the house is going. >> i think that -- people are being optimistic and saying it's possible that the democrats could take the house. i don't really expect that. when you see those it is usually kind of a generic ballot do you like the democrat better but when it gets down to your. i think they are going to do well in the senate. but when people were really upset with barack obama and 2010i would say there was a little bit of grumbling about should he have a primary challenger, and i think if you want a more progressive president you have to elect a more progressive congress and i think that there is an extent to which liberals and progressives didn't really understand that the majority was built on the blue dog democrats on most economic and some social issues and they may well be republicans and there was a mirage that he had a full proof majority.
>> you mentioned earlier the white catholic voters that would not vote for a pro-abortion candidate. why do we see so few go the other way and refuse to vote for or endorse the pro penalty def candidate? >> the catholic bishops were very active on the issue of abortion and birth control and not terribly active on the issue of the death penalty or other aspects of the social teaching. but i was encouraged in that poll mentioned last week was a poll the public religious institute a majority of the working-class white catholic voters are pro-choice. stephen julca protestants the push the white working class and the anti-choice can't so there's
some encouraging signs. estimate i will say when i asked that question the pushback i usually get is a matter of innocence. innocent life versus a deal to criminal and that is where they make the distinction because it is if someone did something as opposed to an unborn fetus. estimate your question for joan walsh? >> as a fellow catholic badger -- >> wow. >> first a lot to say that i've enjoyed the conversation and obviously intelligent and also well spoken. i was an obama supporter, and i grew up in two worlds. my wife looks like a very attractive michelle obama. my son doesn't look like trayvon come he looks like barack obama himself, and i find the conversation on the left somewhat especially on race to
be patronizing, for a presumptive, and frankly prejudice, and i find good you are not having conversations about real solutions and you refuse to interview people that have them like the candidate gary johnson that offers four alternatives and freedom, so i wonder -- i would love to have a conversation with you about different solutions, and gary johnson will be in berkeley tomorrow if you would like to interview him i could arrange it. >> yeah. the book is very clear that a lot of your discussions about race is condescending and patronizing. so, we certainly agree on that.
>> i could have sworn i saw you on msnbc today. >> you did. >> chris matthews. >> how did you do that? [laughter] how do you get here from their. >> i am in a studio here. i live here all the life been in new york for a while, i was in a studio a couple -- i could have walked here. so they actually let me do this from san francisco and the luckiest person in the world. >> my other question is given that governor romney's tax record that we haven't seen just yet, is -- is his tax in the public domain somewhere that we would have access to? >> knows he's got to release them. supposedly john mccain saw lots of years and we've all been waiting for the week, but we haven't gotten it yet.
>> they are no more than yours would be. >> you don't think the media has that and they just are not seeing it right now? and there is nothing to compel him with? >> shame. >> okay. thank you. >> i feel like we've been seeing more dialogue in the mainstream circles and i think we need to be talking about that more one of the things we are starting to see more is around what white people would have to get up and what that would mean, and that could go a lot of different deductions and i have seen a lot of interesting dialogue. do you agree that there is more of that happening and how can we foster that in a really healthy way so that white people can start to recognize what that might look like and be more
healthy about making for people of color while recognizing that it is okay for us if we are giving things up what does that look like? >> i guess when i think of white privilege one of the things is and array of programs that created the class and people don't acknowledge and it's also the assumption that everybody is going to, you know, come form to the norm but i think that some discussions to frame it as what white people have to give up i would rather freeman tells what we all get. we always have a zero sum approach that if you get something i have to lose something. and those conversations on the left or self graduating and not productive and certainly are not going to reach out to avoid working class or people that feel that they don't have much privilege. they have some, but we need to
be more inclusive and our language about that and talk about it in terms of expanding the policy and what we get from diversity and not what we give up this ezequiel out of time. i want to ask you who is going to win the presidential election? [laughter] >> i am feeling optimistic about president obama, but i really don't know. i have been wrong before. >> thanks to joe walsh, salon knott, editor-at-large, msnbc political analyst author tough what's the matter with white people. [applause] we want to speak for the audience here and on radio, television and the internet and remind everybody that copies of ms. walsh's new book what's the matter with white people all on sale in the lobby. she will be pleased to sign them in the lobby immediately following the program and we appreciate you letting her make her way to the signing table as quick as possible where i'm sure
she will love to engage with you and talk further. i am doug sovern and now the place that you are in the know is adjourned. the year was 1981 or 1982i was living in hong kong where i was working for the asian wall street journal i was the author and editor and it was written by an italian journalist that was living in what we then called king. he had secured a very where visa to go to pyongyang and had written an article for his publication about and said the translation to hoping to me "the wall street journal" will publish it. and he did.
i was blown away by it. it was eye opening especially his description of the mass public worship of kim il sung of north korea. there was like reading a chapter from 1984. george orwell's vision had come to life a few years earlier in the democratic republic peoples of korea. also as the years went by, i couldn't get the closing line of the italian journalist article out of my head. it read when i got off of the plane on a kissed the ground happy to be back in a free country. china in 1981? i had been there and i knew china was not free. was it really possible there could be a place that north korea could be worse? for 30 years later we know the answer to that question. north korea is the world's most
repressive state. it's people are the slaves of the family regime which controls every aspect of their lives. even whether they get to eat. religion is banned, there is no rule of law and received political infraction that with harsh punishment that is out to three generation of a person's family. a political offender knows that when he goes to prison, his parents and his children will probably go with him. there are probably about 200,000 north koreans today, and more than alley and perhaps as high as 2 million have already died there. it's thanks to the testimony of north koreans that have escaped. these are the people that i write about in my book. this knowledge comes to us
despite the best efforts of the family regime to keep it secret. for more than 50 years ever since the end of the korean war, north korea has been sealed off from the world's eyes. the family regime has pursued an isolationist policy and maintains an iron grip on information. access to which is very strictly controlled. to give just one example, every radio must be registered with the government and its donald must be fixed to the government-run radio station. to enforce this rule, security police equipped with scanners, cruise neighborhoods trying to identify the households where the residents had tinkered with their radios and returning with ban radio broadcasts. a high percentage of them listen to foreign radiobroadcast in north korea.
it's what they heard on the foreign radio broadcasts. people are hungry for information about the outside world. north koreans that escape must first go to china. they can't go south to south korea strange as it may seem because the zone that runs along the 38th parallel is despite its name the most militarized border in the world and it's impossible to get across unless you are a soldier that has been shown the safe route and only a few people make it out of north korea only by going across instead they go to china, and in china of the north koreans usually find that he has exchanged one circle of health for another.
china's policies to track down the number three in some that country, and arrest them and send them back to north korea where they face in imprisonment or worse for the crime of leaving their country. this policy, this chinese policy is both immoral and it's in contravention of china's's obligations under the international treaty that it signed. nevertheless, some of the north koreans who are hiding in china decided to risk a second escaped. out of china to south korea. no one can accomplish this on his own. some people can get out of north korea on their own in the hand of the rescue rarely reaches into north korea itself. but if somebody wants to get out of china, they need help. the distances are great and the challenges are too high for a north korean to do it on his own. this is where the new underground railroad comes in. like the